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(TRINIDAD GUARDIAN) — Police Commissioner Gary Griffith is challenging anyone who disagrees with his ‘one shot, one kill’ philosophy for police officers in life-threatening situations to report him to the police.
Griffith on Thursday defended his controversial mantra, which he insists coincides with the official T&T Police Service’s ‘use of force’ policy.
“I am sorry but in local parlance, ‘who vex, loss,’” Griffith told Guardian Media by telephone yesterday, as he doubled down on his criticism of Fixin’ T&T president Kirk Waithe.
Waithe has described the ‘one shot, one kill’ policy as ‘dangerous.’
“Kirk Waithe has probably never held a water gun in his life,” he quipped.
“You (Waithe) have the audacity to question my ethics and my type of leadership? Well, I am sorry, it is not changing, and if Kirk Waithe or anyone has an issue with it and they feel I am breaking the law, let them report it to the police.”
He added, “The TTPS is under fire, my officers are under fire on a regular basis and previously they were backing off because they did not know if they were going to get the support from the hierarchy. I as the Commissioner of Police, I am giving full support to any police officer.”
Griffith insisted that most of the general public endorses his support for officers to use lethal force when they face gunfire.
“It is not a general concern. Kirk Waithe is the only person who has been saying it and you all (the media) have been feeding it and giving him fodder,” Griffith said.
He also reiterated his commitment to equipping police officers with a range of non-lethal weapons, including batons, pepper spray, tasers and rubber bullets.
The TTPS’ Use of Force Policy, published in May 2011, says an officer can use deadly force “when the officer reasonably believes such action is immediately necessary to protect himself or others from imminent danger of death or grievous bodily harm.” It also says an officer is under no obligation to retreat or desist when he or she encounters resistance, “unless circumstances exist which would make retreating an appropriate action.”
National Security Minister Stuart Young also threw his support behind Griffith’s policy on Thursday, saying officers had the right to defend themselves if they ended up in a gun battle. However, he asserted that officers in police-involved killing must obey the laws in doing so.